"The Cup of Our Life: A Guide to Spiritual Growth" by Joyce Rupp was originally published twenty years ago, but having sold over 200,000 copies, it has reached "classic" status and has been reprinted by Sorin Books. Designed to be a six-week experience, with a week being as long as one needs, this book can be used by both individuals and groups.
The cup is used as a symbol for one's life. As Rupp states, "The ordinariness of the cup reminds me that my personal transformation occurs in the common crevices of each day. The cup is an apt image for the inner process of growth." Each participant is encouraged to choose a cup that speaks to him or her to use as a visual and tactile tool throughout the experience. The six weeks focus on the following ideas: The Cup of Life, The Open Cup, The Chipped Cup, The Broken Cup, The Cup of Compassion, and The Blessing Cup. In turn, each week offers six reflections with one day (a Sabbath day) for integration and review. Each day offers tasks to complete.
"The Broken Cup" is perhaps the most powerful chapter. Each one of us at one time or another has experienced deep pain. "The broken cup reminds me of those times when hurts, wounds, pains, and adversities of all sorts invade our lives and change us forever." "The Cup of Compassion" also spoke loudly to me. Rupp speaks to our need to always try to do something for another who is hurting. Sometimes, however, there is nothing to be done. Sometimes, we need to simply be with the other in her hour of need. "We may feel better if we do something like give a book to read, make a meal, or buy a gift, but maybe what they really long for is someone to simply sit and listen to their concerns."
Over the years, Rupp has received many positive comments from people whose lives were transformed by this book and spending the time in prayer and reflection. Those who shared these six weeks in groups developed deep friendships and connected in a profound way. Some have gone through the experience more than once and chosen different cups at different times, reflecting the place that they were in life at that time. "The Cup of Our Life" obviously resonates with many people and has brought much good into their lives.
Rupp is a well-known spiritual writer and offers much to think about within the pages of "The Cup of Our Life." Whether one uses the book as originally intended, or simply reads and reflects on the pages, one will come away with many valuable insights.